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Cell phone facts and statistics

GAO says more research needed

"According to FDA and others, the research to date does not show that mobile phone radiofrequency emissions have adverse health effects but there is not enough information at this point to conclude that these products are not without risk. While most epidemiological and laboratory studies related to the radiofrequency emissions of mobile phones have found no adverse health effects, the results of some studies have raised questions that require further research."

Source: U.S. General Accounting Office report on Mobile Phone Health Issues, May, 2001

How much power does a cell phone use?

A mobile phone is designed to operate at a maximum power level of 0.6 watts. A household microwave oven uses between 600 and 1,100 watts.

See also:
Cell phone safety
Cell phone industry faces legal tests
Forum: Cell-phone risks
How workers' comp works
Cell phone manufacturers filing patents raises questions
Studies are a mixed bag: are cell phones safe or not?
Forum: Cell-phone risks, tell us what you think
Cell phone specific absorption rates (SAR) are hard to come by
Cellular: a health hazard? Use these resources to help you find out
Subscribe to the Mobile Computing newsletter

Cell phone usage explodes

Cell phone usage

In 1994, 16 million Americans subscribed to cellular phone services. Today, more than 110 million Americans are subscribers. Some experts predict that worldwide subscribership will reach 1.2 billion people by 2005.

Brain cancer is on the rise

The incidence of brain cancer has increased 25% since 1973, according to the National Cancer Institute. Each year, 185,000 Americans will be diagnosed with a primary or metastatic brain tumor, according to the National Brain Tumor Foundation.

How to check for emission levels

The Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association decided last year that all CTIA-certified cell phones must have their radiofrequency emission levels made available to consumers. The problem is that the information is usually noted inside the box in which the phone is sold, so anyone who wants to compare levels needs to ask a store clerk to open multiple boxes.

You can get the rating for a specific cell phone at the Federal Communications Commission Web site if you have the FCC identification number for the phone and if the phone is new enough to be listed.

Online exclusive: health hazard?

Follow our links to a host of related resources including the Council of Wireless Technology Impacts - citizens and professionals concerned about the safe uses of electromagnetic radiation.


Cell phone safety
Convinced that using the company-issued cell phones on the job caused his brain tumor, Mark Hart filed a workers' compensation claim. The Hart case and others like it, while human tragedies, raise serious issues for network and telecom executives.

Cell phone industry faces legal tests
Gibb Brower used a cell phone to help run his business from the road or on job sites for four years. He says his cell phones caused the growth of two tumors and a surrounding cancer field on the right side of his head where he held the phone.

How workers' comp works
What to do if your employer issued cell phone damages your health.

Which agency handles what, how are they involved, and other important questions we have the answers to.

Patent filings raise questions
Even as major cell phone manufacturers argued that phones pose no health risks, the companies were filing patents for devices designed to protect users from radiation emitted by the phones.

Scientific studies are a mixed bag
Research into the safety of cellular phones has resulted in some studies that show no adverse effects, and others that raise questions.

Forum: Cell-phone risks
Discuss them with Dr. George Carlo, former director of the cellular industry's research effort on them.

Cell phone ratings are hard to come by
For network administrators looking to buy cellular phones that give off the least amount of radiation, comparing emission levels may not be an easy task.

Cell phone patents raise questions
Health risks once again at issue in light of technology patent review.
Network World, 06/15/01.

Cellphone suit will get its day in court
In ruling that could shake the cellphone industry, a federal judge let stand a lawsuit that says companies are making and selling cellphones with the knowledge that they may be dangerous.
IDG News Service, 01/19/01.

Study links mobile phone use with eye cancer
A German study purports to find a statistically significant link between a rare form of eye cancer and mobile telephone use.
Net.Worker, 01/16/01.

Cell phone use linked to brain cancer in new study
Users of mobile phones are at increased risk of developing brain tumors, especially if they use older analog phones.
Network World, 05/05/00.

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